MSU moving on (sort of) from UM shellacking

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News
Cassius Winston and Tom Izzo

East Lansing — Michigan State coach Tom Izzo has been known to take a hammer to game tape in the past, and he admitted this week he was tempted to do the same following Tuesday’s loss at Michigan.

Of course, tapes aren’t really used these days, but figuratively, there were plenty of reasons to take that game and smash it to pieces as Michigan State gets set to host Iowa at 6 Saturday at Breslin Center. However, with a young team, there still were plenty of opportunities for growth.

“It is a very tough balance,” Izzo said. “I took a couple of young guys that I thought needed to learn from it, had film sessions and meetings with those guys. The rest of guys I told them same thing I told them down there, ‘Remember it. Remember the things you don’t do well, that bother you, and that’s the only way to learn and grow from it.”

That means the game tape survived, even as Izzo’s former boss — Jud Heathcote — suggested he trash it.

“Great advice from Jud,” Izzo said. “He didn’t say hammer it and he didn’t even say to burn it. He just said don’t watch it. So the closure on (the Michigan loss) after watching it was it was mind boggling. It’s a four-point game with nine minutes left in the first half … give them credit. It was mind-boggling for us and it wasn’t one guy and wasn’t one thing. We did struggle with some coverages and those coverages cost us a little bit.”

The defense was just one of the problems, however, as Michigan State (14-10, 6-5 Big Ten) reverted to one of its biggest shortcomings all season — turnovers.

The Spartans handed the ball away a season-high 21 times which led to 30 points for the Wolverines. Freshman Cassius Winston struggled the most with six turnover while fellow freshman Miles Bridges had five.

It led to Izzo breaking down every turnover committed in the last five games — a total of 72 — and showing each of them to the team.

“We had four turnovers on the shot clock and five turnovers on charges or screens,” Izzo said. “That’s nine of the 21 right there and they cost us. We’ve got to do a better job and I’ve been saying it all year. We did a better job for a stretch then it reared its ugly head again. We talk about it and show them.

“Some guys like Cassius, it’s unexcusable to make five turnovers in seven minutes or whatever. He’s too good a player to do that.”

However, Izzo and the Spartans hardly are throwing in the towel. As the Michigan State coach pointed out, they’re just one game in the loss column from the fourth spot in the Big Ten which would lead to a double-bye in the conference tournament.

And with it being reunion weekend, Izzo is hoping the presence of some of the former Spartans can rub off on the young players.

“I talked to Adreian Payne last night and it’s funny because he said to me, ‘Coach, I think I should call Nick,’” Izzo said. “I said, ‘Me too.’ He said, ‘Is he acting like I used to?’ It was funny to hear him and see how mature he’s gotten. It kind of made me realize these guys are still in the process.

“We’re still young and I’m telling you, I still believe we can do some things this year, I really do.”

Iowa at Michigan State

Tip-off: Saturday, 6 p.m., Breslin Center, East Lansing

TV / radio: Big Ten Network / WJR 760

Records: Iowa 14-11 (6-6 Big Ten); Michigan State 14-10 (6-5)

Outlook: Four of Michigan State’s next five games are at home. … MSU sits in fifth place of the Big Ten, just a half game up on the Hawkeyes. … Iowa is averaging 81.3 points per game while senior guard Peter Jok is the Big Ten’s leading scorer at 20.9 points a game. The Hawkeyes allow the most points per game in the conference at 78.8.